The Bikecast Episode #41. Election Special: The Left that Outflanks the Left, and the Teaparty
I can sense the coming electoral event in the air around me! The people of a right’ist persuasion whom I know or whose blogs I read are also anti-statists and shall not be voting in November. Most of this podcast is an analysis of the pre-election noise coming from the the left: their attempt to grapple with the nature of the Tea Party, and their anger at the progressive “wing” of the movement that keeps insisting that the democrat controlled government behave in some small, distinguishable way, differently than the Bush regime.
Very few people I know demonstrate any compelling belief that voting has any significance. Statistically, of course, it doesn’t. Most voters in my peer group are “defensive voters” or are surrounded by people who treat voting as a moral good (and not voting as irresponsible). But very few people demonstrate even the belief that one political figure or political party is drastically, or even noticeably, different than another.
Those that do have a clear grasp of the talking points: Yes, the current regime has increased the size and scope of the war on terror. Yes, the Iraq withdrawal is meaningless. Yes, Bush era policies have been maintained if not furthered in almost every case. Yes, covert operations, assassinations, clandestine and unconventional military operations are expanding rapidly. Yes, the gap between the rich and the poor is the largest it’s ever been. Yes, corporate profits are booming while the recession looks to continue indefinitely for the working class. Yes, Health Care Reform is crafted by the medical and insurance industries for a massive transfer of wealth to those industries.
Yes, Iran is still being routinely threatened. Yes, the spectre of Internet censorship is greater than ever before . Yes, the political advancement of homosexual equality has been abandoned.
“But it would have been so much worse if the republicans were in charge.” Honestly, that’s all that’s left in the arsenal of leftist authoritarian “reasoning.”
Though counter-factuals can only be argued using reason, I am fairly convinced that, in fact, the opposite is true. At least when the sociopaths that the left recognized as sociopaths were in power, there was some noise protesting the security state, the warfare state, the torture regime, the secret prisons etc. Now, though I’m sure the hardcore is still out there fighting the good fight, the rank-and-file leftists are silent as church mice. Little atheist church mice. It’s difficult to claim that there are any meaningful limits to executive power, but if there are, they limit leftist regimes only when that regimes pushes left and limit rightist regimes only to the right.
This provides a nice segue into one of the pieces I talk about in the bikecast.
It addresses the role of the remaining progressives (Glenn Greenwald, John Aravosis, Digby, Marcy Wheeler and Jane Hamsher) who are sticking by their positions even though they are hopelessly to the left of the center-right regime currently in power.
Prediction: expect to see alot of (continued) in-fighting between the cheerleader democrats who will blink at nothing short of encampment and extermination of all arabs and the political right, and those few outliers (mentioned above and those like them) who will probably all be anarchists in an election cycle or two.
I also talk a little about Matt Taibbi’s Tea party analysis. The article is worth reading. I think it’s interesting that, in a couple spots, Taibbi sounds like he’s given up on the political process:
In the Tea Party narrative, victory at the polls means a new American revolution, one that will “take our country back” from everyone they disapprove of. But what they don’t realize is, there’s a catch: This is America, and we have an entrenched oligarchical system in place that insulates us all from any meaningful political change.
Prediction (appropriated from Matt Taibbi’s article): There’s bound to be some pretty substantial disillusionment on the margins of the “Tea partiers” after the current batch of “revolutionary” politicians is entirely coopted or they fall to democrats leading, inevitably, to a right-wing invocation the Nader fallacy–blaming the third party for the failure of the preferred establishment candidate. Also, it will mint a whole new batch of anarchists.
-  As predicted, insurance companies are simply leaving markets where regulation would endanger profits. Recently (09/23/2010) the inability to refuse children with pre-existing conditions provision of the HCR bill kicked in, and Blue Cross and Aetna simply stopped offering child-insurance. Pretty predictable really. Oh, and all the rest of it, I’m willing to wager, is similarly filled with loopholes and escape hatches–except the part where everyone is forced to buy insurance. ↩
-  but futile ↩
-  I mistakenly reversed this in the podcast. ↩
-  anti-war, anti-torture, anti-assassination . . . pro-human, I guess is a good summation. ↩